About a month ago, I and three others did a through trip in OFD, in which we came out of the Cwm Dwr entrance. I was at the rear of the team as we crawled our way through the challenging restricted section known as Dim Dwr. The three in front had passed through pushing cobbles towards its exit and when it came for me to pass through I was faced with a wall of cobbles. Unable to crawl over, or push them ahead I resorted to screaming for help until one of the team finally came back and dug out enough at their end so I could push the remaining cobbles out of the way to exit. Would be fair to say it was an extremely unpleasant experience getting stuck there!
The bags storing the cobbles from a previous clearance had failed and were simply spilling their contents back into the crawl. I’m speculating this was accelerated by the big rescue in November 2021 which would have seen hundreds of people passing through that section of the cave system in a very short period of time.
Fast forward a month and I had decided to do something about it. Originally I had planned to do nothing more than bag as much as I could in situ. Thankfully the Freem’s offered to help and turned my amateurish thoughts into a far more productive setup. On Tuesday 19th April in just under three hours we absolutely smashed it! Bagging, dragging and stashing the cobbles away from the crawl.
Before we started the work we shoved Andy into the crawl to put things into context, this was about as far as he could reverse into it.
|Antonia filming Andy. Note all the cobbles.|
|Andy for scale, demonstrating just how filled the crawl was.|
|Andy looking relieved to be out of the crawl!|
|Looking into the crawl, Andy’s foot for scale, so pretty snug…|
We took it in turns to dig and bag up the cobbles. Then we turned into a 3-man haulage team dragging the bags using ropes to a point just beyond the stal boss one has to crawl pass. Once the cobbles were stashed we returned to the crawl and repeated this process 4 more times. 24 bags in total.
|Bagging the cobbles.|
|Antonia, the secret weapon! Small enough to get into the crawl and kick out the big stuff at the tightest point.|
|Hauling the bags of cobble back towards the entrance. We stashed the pebbles in a small hole on the left some 30m back from the crawl.|
|Andy passes the stal boss, carrying the scrapper used to push the cobbles into their final resting place.|
|The end result, the crawl cleared of cobbles with Andy being able to reverse fully into the crawl.|
So no more troubles with tribbles…
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